HOMECOMING

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Back to blogging, but this time poetics and space

University of Glasgow, in a photo I took in February 2005.

Just a few months ago I decided to formally enroll as a doctoral candidate at the University of Glasgow, to pursue a practice-based, interdisciplinary research project that has been central to my interests for the past several years: poetic practices in spatial design. I have been a poet among architects and urban designers for several years now, and my work has increasingly led me to pursue the areas in which creative writing and design meet. It feels natural to now begin to formalize my earlier research, writing, teaching, and collaborations within the framework of doctoral program in fine arts. This is an opportunity to gather my prior work, deepen its focus, and synthesize a wide range of elements in order to make a small claim: poetics have their place in spatial design.

Some of this study will require not only an examination of the place of poetry in the project studio as it exists now, but also a certain amount of placemaking. In this way, I believe the work to come will be speculative and propositional, as is fitting for both poetics and spatial design. In recent years I have had the extreme good fortune to collaborate with several colleagues in exploratory research frameworks, and I cannot understate the impact it has had on me to see original research taking seriously the work that happens beyond the analytical frame, without disregarding processes of analysis. To me, this was an unveiling of the poietic principle in meaningful research, the processes of knowledge production themselves.

Which is to arrive at the point of this post: I decided that part of the placemaking inherent in my doctoral research would be well-served by a space like this, a blog where I could keep track of my research, share resources, and build a knowledge-base to accompany the formal thesis itself. In that sense, this will be a zone of a certain informality, but deeply linked to the formal research activities I’ll be pursuing in fulfillment of my doctorate.

This is something of a return for me, as it happens that I was an active member of the adolescent blogosphere, writing regularly on poetry and poetics in the mid aughts. At the time, I was interested in cataloguing my reading, commenting on the work that interested me, and slowly building myself out as a writer and critic. My big claim to fame was that I earned a mention on Ron Silliman’s blog, but in hindsight that was more a sign of his generosity than of my importance as a poetry blogger!

Things will certainly be different this time around, in part because I have already fulfilled some of my early ambitions to become a practicing poet and a critic, but even more so because of my own private “spatial turn.” In truth, it has been more of a turn away from idealisms, and strongly toward materialities, than toward “space” as is often understood, but that’s the fine grain for another time. This is just to say (ahv drank / thi speshlz), the concern is no longer the patrician poetry I once admired, and that the project will be manifest in the particula of spacetime, hopefully with as many of the ramifications of that as possible, including in politics.

And then look at the image I chose to accompany this post? I wish the best of luck to all of us.

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